Risky choice frames shift the structure and emotional valence of internal arguments: A query theory account of the unusual disease problem

Daniel Wall, Raymond D. Crookes, Eric J. Johnson, Elke U. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examine a Query Theory account of risky choice framing effects — when risky choices are framed as a gain, people are generally risky averse but, when an equivalent choice is framed as a loss, people are risk seeking. Consistent with Query Theory, frames affected the structure of participants’ arguments: gain frame participants listed arguments favoring the certain option earlier and more often than loss frame participants. These argumentative shifts mediated framing effects; manipulating participants initial arguments attenuated them. While emotions, as measured by PANAS, were related to frames but not related to choices, an exploratory text analysis of the affective valence of arguments was related to both. Compared to loss-frame participants, gain-frame participants expressed more positive sentiment towards the certain option than the risky option. This relative-sentiment index predicted choices by itself but not when included with structure of arguments. Further, manipulated initial arguments did not significantly affect participant’s relative sentiment. Prior to changing choices, risky choice frames alter both the structure and emotional valence of participants’ internal arguments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-703
Number of pages19
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Volume15
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics

Keywords

  • Choice processing
  • Query theory
  • Risky choice framing

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